Sunday, 3 February 2013

Here we come Mt Mayon!

Sunday 3rd Feb

Today we woke up early and luckily the girl from the tourist information centre back in Donsol had sent someone to help us book stuff for today so Laura and Paul decided not to climb the volcano and came back with some information on what we could do instead - ATV Bikes to the halfway point/view point on Mt Mayon! So we all decided to do it - for around £40 it would be an experience we'd never forget - I mean who can say they rode quad bikes up an active volcano in the Philippines?

So the guy sorted it all out for us and took us to the Casagwa Ruins which is where we were to start. We got our helmets and were allowed a quick test drive to make sure we knew what to do and how to drive it. We were informed about the terrain. It was going to be pretty tough going with massive boulders, rivers to cross and rough paths, so because I was unsure about the bike, my strength to steer the bike over boulders and my bad luck so far, I decided to hire a driver - who was an 18yr old boy! However I was told that some of the way was flat roads so I could drive them if I wanted to - which I did!

So we set off and right away Laura shouted out, "oh my god, Christina it's such a good idea you didn't drive yourself you'd never make it!" And it was so true, it was so bumpy and rough I actually felt a little travel sick, Laura and Paul found it hard too, even got stuck a few times, and it was pretty scary at some points! So we had made it over the lava bed/flow and reached the village after about an hour, and here was when I felt confident enough to drive them so I did - it was awesome!! At one point though my steering was crap - I hit a rock and a tricycle was coming the other way and I almost hit the tricycle, the boy sat behind me had to steer me away from it! All the people in the tricycle went - ooooooooh, ahhhhhhhhhh! Driving through the little villages was lovely, all the children ran out to say hello and wave as we passed, all the boys wanted a high-five, even the older men and women waved and wanted to shout out hello! I couldn't believe though that they lived literally ON the volcano - mental!

Then we had another good hour of rough terrain before we reached the rest point before our hike up the lava boulders. With my foot still semi-bad I wasn't so sure but our lovely guide helped me the entire way and helped guide me onto all the flatter rocks so it wouldn't hurt my foot too much and I made it! Yay! So we spent a good half hour up there taking some awesome/funny pictures and then got the zip line back down. The views were awesome but unfortunately it was very cloudy so we couldn't see too far and the top of the volcano was covered in cloud, but it was ok because we'd had tons of fun.

After the zip line we had our 2hour ride back and as luck would have it, we got the dodgy wheel on our ATV bike so had to go slower and on the terrain that wasn't as rough - I wasn't complaining though! We then got back just before it started pissing it down and we were covered in mud. So we got our driver to take us back to the hotel to freshen up then went to the mall in search for food. After an hour of searching we decided to come back to the original mall near our hotel for a Mc Donalds - how very local of us - but the Filipinos love their junk food so it was ok, we were embracing their culture! During our walk we'd come to establish that not many tourists visited Legazpi and we were stared at a lot. We also established that the Filipinos love their mall shopping culture, Mc Donalds also sold Spaghetti Bolognaise and chicken and rice, and JollyBees was the fast food joint of choice!

As there wasn't much else to do with our afternoon/evening - the bars were shut on a Sunday - we decided to check out the cinema and see Les Miserables, which was pretty darn good. Then we headed back to the hotel and everyone had a skype session with their families and pretty much just packed and went to bed as we had an early flight tomorrow morning - another full day of travelling in the Philippines - yay! We had to fly back to Manila, have a 4hr wait in the airport and then transfer to Palawan where we were headed to Coron, good for diving, snorkelling and island hopping - supposedly a little piece of paradise!

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